Is there a political bias in the municipal distribution of regional funds? The example of the Region of Murcia
The weaknesses of the local funding model mean that in some municipalities a debate has arisen as to whether the distribution of funds from upper levels of government is based on proper principles or is simply the result of strictly partisan criteria. In this context, this paper aims to analyze the criteria that determine the amount of funds received by the 45 municipalities that comprise the Region of Murcia, where there is no local funding law, from the autonomous government during the period 2009-2017. Our results show that, contrary to expectations, no political factors are sufficiently relevant to determine the transfers received. On the other hand, it is found that budgetary criteria of sufficiency, investment and per capita debt are the most important ones to explain the transfers received by the municipalities. Finally, it should be noted that the level of income, unemployment, the percentage of dependent population, territorial dispersion and the tourist nature of the municipality have also revealed significant socio-economic factors to determine the amount of current and/or capital transfers obtained by the municipalities.